White House Unveils New Quantum Sciences Education Initiative
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy aims to foster the next generation of talent in quantum information sciences to match growing demand.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a new initiative to complement its quantum computing research and development efforts, focusing on improved advanced technology education and outreach.
The National Strategic Plan for Quantum Information Science and Technology Workforce Development was formally announced on Tuesday. Developed within the executive branch, the national plan broadly aims to help foster the workforce talent necessary to keep up with the growing number of jobs in quantum sciences.
“To accelerate QIST [Quantum Information Science and Technology] R&D and grow the Nation’s capacity to develop quantum technologies, the United States needs a talented, diverse and adaptable workforce,” the plan begins. “However, the supply of such talent currently does not meet demand from the rapidly expanding industrial, national laboratory, government and academic efforts.”
One of the key strategies included in the plan is increasing high school and undergraduate student participation and access to STEM and quantum sciences educational opportunities. The goal is to foster a familiarity and enthusiasm among a younger generation to then pursue careers in government, academia or the private sector.
“Our future prosperity depends on expanding the capacity of our nation to inspire, educate, train and empower the next generation of talent,” said Charles Tahan, the director at the National Quantum Coordination Office within the OSTP.
While the plan emphasizes education initiatives, it also includes researching the broader quantum workforce to gauge trends and opportunities.
“The goal of the strategic plan is to summarize the current status of the U.S. quantum information science and technology workforce and make recommendations for the U.S. government, as well as discuss opportunities for other stakeholders in academia, industry and the broader ecosystem,” said Tomasz Durakiewicz, program director at the U.S. National Science Foundation, in a statement to Nextgov.
Durakiewicz added that fostering more diversity and equity in the field is also part of the Biden administration’s goal to expand the quantum sciences field.